Members of the University of Victoria Vikes cross country program will have to wait until next year to compete for a conference championship.

Earlier this morning, Canada West announced that both golf and swimming conference championships will proceed in the 2020-21 season, while cross country championships will not be staged this fall.

“Both our team and myself are disappointed that there will be no championship this season. But ultimately, it comes down to keeping our student-athletes safe and that is most important right now,” said Vikes cross country Head Coach Hilary Stellingwerff. “We will find ways to keep our runners competitive this season, whether that’s through time trials or local meets if deemed acceptable from health officials. We will also stay positive and hope there is a track season in the spring.”

The decisions were made Wednesday via a vote by all 17 Canada West members, following recommendations from the conference’s Board of Directors, which were informed by the Canada West COVID-19 Task Force.

“I’d like to thank our COVID-19 Task Force along with the scheduled hosts of our fall championship sports for the work that went into informing today’s vote,” said Clint Hamilton, Canada West President and Vikes Director of Athletics and Recreation. “While we are disappointed that cross country champions won’t be crowned this fall, we will proceed optimistically with plans for the Canada West Golf Championship and remain hopeful for delivering swimming in the second term.”

The location for the championships is contingent on health and safety considerations across Western Canada, as each province manages the coronavirus.

Currently, the Golf Championship is scheduled to be hosted by the University of British Columbia Okanagan at the Okanagan Golf Club from October 2-4. That will be the only conference championship played in the first term.

The Canada West Swimming Championship will be hosted by the University of Calgary. It was previously scheduled for this November, but it will be bumped back to early 2021 (dates TBA).

The University of Saskatchewan was the site for the conference’s cross country championship. The Task Force felt that the necessary risk mitigations – reduction of team complement, altered start, creating defined passing areas, or hosting regional championships – would too significantly impact the integrity of the championship.

On June 8, the Canada West announced that all first term team sports – football, soccer, field hockey, and rugby 15s – wouldn’t proceed, and that all two-term sports – basketball, volleyball, and hockey – would start no sooner than January 2021 with reduced schedules.

A decision on the commencement of two-term sports and second term championship sports – including swimming – will be made no later than October 8.
With respect to national championships, U SPORTS announced on June 8th that all fall national championships – including cross country – had been cancelled.

The U SPORTS Swimming Championships currently remain scheduled for February 25-27, 2021. Golf isn’t currently a U SPORTS offering, but does crown a national champion via Golf Canada’s Canadian University and College Championships (June 1-4, 2021).